Archive for August, 2009

Aug 27 2009

Iceland’s Geothermal Energy to be Privatized? – Canadian Company Wants to Take Over H.S. Orka


Magma Energy, a Canadian company, wants to buy a majority share in H.S. Orka, a geothermal energy company based on the Reykjanes peninsula. In July this year Magma Energy bought a 11% share in H.S. Orka from Geysir Green Energy (GGE) and therefor became the first foreign shareholder in an Icelandic energy company. The purchase was a part of a bigger agreement between Reykjanesbær and GGE, which resulted in GGE owning a little more than 50% of H.S. Orka. Around the purchase, Ross Beaty, Magma’s director stated that the company did not plan to become predominant in H.S. Orka or meddle with the management of the company’s power plants.

In the middle of August, Orkuveita Reykjavíkur (O.R. – e. Reykjavík Energy) decided to start discussion with Magma Energy about the latter’s purchase of O.R.’s share in H.S. Orka, which is 32% and would therefor give Magma 43% share in the company and the possibility of increasing it 5%. Magma has bought the very small shares of the communities of Sandgerði and Hafnarfjörður, and has been discussing with communities like Vogar and Grindavík about buying their shares as well. If everything goes like planned, H.S. Orka, which e.g. is the biggest energy provider for the Century Aluminum’s planned smelter in Helguvík, will mostly be owned by to private companies; Magma and GGE, which will own c.a. half of the shares each. Read More

Aug 20 2009
2 Comments

Sabotage on an Icelandic GMO Testing Field – No Harvest This Fall


On Tuesday night or yesterday morning, a serious sabotage was done on a GMO testing field in Iceland. The field is owned by ORF Líftækni, a company that was experimenting with growing genetically modified barley for use in medical researches, the skin product industry and medicine development. According to the company’s CEO, Björn Lárus Örvar, all the barley was trashed, which means that the company will not get any harvest this coming fall. The financial loss runs on millions of Icelandic Krónur (ISK).

A group named Illgresi (Weeds) sent out a press release this morning, claiming responsibility for the action, saying:

On the 22nd of June 2009the bio-medical company ORF got permission for experimental planting of GMO medicinal barley in Gunnarsholt, Rángárvallarsýslu. These experiment´s would have paved the way for general planting of genetically modified plants in Iceland. All voices of criticism, both institutions and individuals are made suspect and the little media coverage has been homogeneous and in favour of ORF. Today this permission was revoked. The reasons are amongst others: Read More

Aug 12 2009

Saving Iceland Stops Work on Helguvík Smelter Site


This morning, 20 people from Saving Iceland stopped work on the Norðuál/Century’s smelter construction site in Helguvík. People locked on to three vehicle gates in to the site and therefor stopped all traffic in and out of it. People also locked on to machinery on the site so the work was stopped for at least two hours. The construction in Helguvík has to be stopped to prevent further destruction of wilderness by the damming of glacial rivers and geothermal areas, as well as the global impacts of aluminium production. 

Not so long ago, the government with Össur Skarphéðinsson (then Minister of Industry) in the front, made a special discount contract with Norðurál/Century, which was signed last Friday in the shadow of Saving Iceland’s green skyr throwing. (1) The contract includes financial support from the Icelandic state in the form of a tax discount that amounts to 16,2 million US dollars. Norðurál/Century is therefor free from paying industry fees, market fees and electricity safety fees as well as special rules will apply concerning stamp duty and planning fees, and about new taxes. (2)

Read More

Aug 08 2009

Noise Demonstration by the Police Station – Two More Arrested


UPDATE: 04:30 – Everybody has been released.

After a brutal arrest of 5 people during a Saving Iceland protest today (read about it with clicking here), around thirty people gathered by the police station in Reykjavík to protest against the arrest of their comrades and the police violence. During the noise demonstration, two more people were arrested after trying to blockade the fence of the parking lot by the station. According to witnesses, one of them was seriously injured by the police who beat him to blood.

We have received no proper photos yet, but hope to be able to put them on the website as soon as possible, as well as more information.

Aug 08 2009

The Police Roughs Up a Protester – The Media Helps Sustaining the Smear


Yesterday, Friday August 7th, Saving Iceland protested by the Ministry of Industry. At the same time inside the building, a financial contract was signed between the government and Norðurál/Century Aluminum, concerning the latter’s smelter in Helguvík. When the protest was about to end, the police showed up, arrested 5 individuals and aggressively roughed up one of them. Most of the media has spoken about the event but not mentioned the police brutality at all. Instead, the media has unsparingly published the police’s smear about us: that a policeman was kicked in the head and that we threatened the police with iron sticks, without any evidence showing that anything like this ever took place. Saving Iceland rejects these accusations and renounces the media’s one-sided reports.

The contract that was signed today includes state support for the aluminium smelters in the form of a tax discount that amounts to 16,2 million US dollars – two billion Icelandic krónur – and gives Norðurál/Century exemptions from paying industry fees, market fees and electricity safety fees. Special rules will also apply concerning stamp duty and planning fees, and about new taxes. The emission permits that are now valid permit a 150 thousand ton smelter in Helguvík; the Environmental Impact Assessment permits 250 thousand tons, but Century/Norðurál plans to build a 360 thousand ton smelter and today’s contract gives the company the right to do so. (1) The energy for the smelter has not been found and Svandís Svarvarsdóttir, the minister of environment has officially said that enough energy to run the smelter does not exist in the Reykjanes peninsula. (2) At the same time, Katrín Júlíusdóttir, the minister of industry, has agreed with ideas about Landsvirkjun selling energy from the planned dams in Þjórsá river to Helguvík. (3) Read More

Aug 06 2009

Saving Iceland Targets Alcoa – The Only Way to Real Changes Lies in the Protection of Nature!


Last Tuesday, August 4th,  Saving Iceland targeted the aluminium producer Alcoa. We knocked on the doors of the company’s office by Suðurlandsbraut but nobody answered, so the green skyr (traditional dairy product – historical for being used in protests) and other filthy stuff we had, ended up on the door, walls and the floor in front of the office. Compared to Alcoa’s role in the destruction of Iceland’s wilderness and other environmental and human crimes across the globe, this was a minimum punishment.

Though Alcoa’s aluminium smelter in Reyðarfjörður (east of Iceland) is now working with full force, driven on by the highly critical Kárahnjúkar Dam, there is still a fair reason for attacking the company. The smelter in Reyðarfjörður was the beginning of the heavy industry madness, the first sign of how effect the government’s advertisement campaign about the country’s cheap energy and people’s little as no resistance, was. (1) The smelter in Reyðarfjörður was the ball the pushed forward the idea that aluminium production is the premise for life. After the construction of the Kárahnjúkar Dam, all other energy projects look so small that only very few people seem to see a reason for fighting against them. And the police’s mistreatment towards those who dared to put their feet in between the construction, did for sure not encourage many to continue the resistance.  Read More

Aug 05 2009

Wilderness Doesn’t Need Design – HRV’s Office Needs a New Style!


In the night of July 30th, HRV’s headquarters were attacked because of its part in the destruction of the Icelandic wilderness.

HRV is a company that holds serious responsibility for the destruction of wilderness – not less then the aluminium and energy companies. On its website, the company proudly states that it is “one of the leading project management and consulting engineering companies within the primary aluminium production sector.” HRV has taken part in the construction process of Alcoa’s, Rio Tinto-Alcan’s and Century Aluminum’s smelters here in Iceland, as well as the Kárahnjúkar power plant. The company’s work of engineering and designing has according to itself “added some 700,000 tpy [ton per year] of primary aluminium production capacity to the world market.”  Read More

Aug 03 2009

“Dear Iceland: Fuck You! Yours Truly, Aluminium” – Banner Drop on the Biggest Church in Iceland


Dear Iceland(ers).

This morning we, the Aluminium Industry, hung a banner on Hallgrímskirkja (the biggest church in Iceland) to finally express cleary what we have been trying to tell you all of the time. We decided that the methods of greenwashing and manipulation are no longer needed, since we obviously managed to convince you already about the glory of heavy industry. 

We wanted the Icelandic Nation to fully understand, that we don’t care about anything else than our own advantages and of course our profit. We don’t care about the impacts of our actions, on people here in Iceland or elsewhere in the world. Many lives, human and non-human, have been effected by our work all over the globe:

  • Whole tribes of indigenous people have lost their lives and/or livelihoods through a cultural genocides caused by our projects; bauxite mining, alumina refining, aluminium production, and transportation between continents. (1) (2)
  • Earth-damage and pollution are constantly increasing as we keep trying to fulfill our never satisfying greed. 
  • Due to our major role in warfare and the military industry many people could feel the impact of aluminium on their own bodies… (3)
  • We do not take responsibility for any of these things. (4) Read More

Aug 02 2009

Friðrik Sophusson’s House Targeted With Paint and Glue


This afternoon, Saving Iceland received a letter and photos from a group titled A.S.Ö. According to the letter the group targeted the house of Friðrik Sophusson, the director of Landsvirkjun (Iceland’s national energy company) with paint and glue. The letter is here in full length:

We want our lives back. Our freedom. Our wilderness.

We decide not to delegate to others what we believe is necessary to be done. We take the responsibility of our acts against those who are destroying and poisoning the Earth.

Thinking that someone else than you will act or that nothing can be changed, is still a choice that has consequences. We can choose between oiling the destructive machine of this society or to be the sand that blocks it!

The individual responsibility is the reason why we hit personally those who are at the head of capitalistic companies as Landsvirkjun. In the name of money and power, Landsvirkjun has actively destroyed the Icelandic wilderness. Company’s director does not change personality between his work and home. He stays the same. He is as responsible on both sides.

In the night of July 27th, we went to the house of Friðrik Sophusson, the director of Landsvirkjun. We blocked his doors with glue and threw green paint all over the walls.

Never forget that the night is on our side!

A.S.Ö.